Ankle pain in hiking boots is not uncommon and can quickly turn your journey into a nightmare. Where does it come from? And how can it be avoided?

Where does ankle pain in hiking boots come from?

The ankle allows for flexion and transmits the power of the leg, while adapting to the terrain. In the shoe, it needs space while being properly supported. Hiking boots, rigid and often high-cut, promote compression and friction. The pain mainly comes from the conflict between the foot and the footwear. The ankle bones, especially the most prominent ones, are most susceptible to this phenomenon.

If your shoes are too big:

Your ankle "floats" in the shoe. The rigidity of the shoe and the frequent movements made during hiking will lead to repetitive friction. This can cause sharp pain.

If your shoes are too small:

In terms of width, it is the metatarsal and prominent bones like the ankle bone that suffer. It is the compression that will cause pain.

If your shoes are worn out: Using worn-out shoes can lead to ankle pain while hiking. Indeed, a worn-out sole and shoe structure lead to reduced shock absorption and stability of your foot. This can quickly put a strain on your ankles!

Your clothing can also cause friction: Thick or poorly moisture-wicking socks can cause pain.

How can ankle pain in hiking boots be avoided?

Seek professional advice when choosing hiking boots:

As you may have understood, hiking boots, due to their rigidity and protective role, do not tolerate any size or wear issues. Do not hesitate to seek professional advice to help you: they have all the knowledge and tools needed to advise you.

Adjust the tension of your laces:

If your shoes are the right size and not worn out, but you still experience pain, it may be necessary to adjust the lacing. This technical aspect is crucial to avoid injuries! If it is not done optimally, the foot will either float in the shoe or be compressed. This causes friction and pressure points.

The adjustment of your shoes should be done while standing, to have a position and tilt as close as possible to walking. The tightening should be evenly distributed over the entire foot, not compressing it.

Then, listen to your body! The lacing should be adjustable, adapted throughout the day according to your sensations: your foot will adjust to the shoe, temperatures will change and slightly alter the rigidity of your shoes... These are all elements that make it essential to adapt the lacing to prevent pain from setting in.

Choose quality hiking socks:

Avoid overly thick socks that may not necessarily be warmer than thinner socks. Opt for reinforced models without seams in sensitive areas. Also, choose a model made of material that effectively wicks away moisture as moisture exacerbates the friction phenomenon. In our article "How to Choose the Right Hiking Socks," you will find detailed advice for choosing quality socks and avoiding ankle pain during your hikes.

Opt for ankle protection:

Ankle protections, like the GELPROTECH Ankle Guards from Monnet, are affordable devices that can be transferred from one pair of shoes to another. They are made up of ankle guards with enriched silicone gel discs positioned at the inner and outer malleolus. This protects them from the pressures they may face inside the shoe during your hikes.

Consult a professional:

If the pain persists despite using ankle protection, it is advisable to consult a sports doctor, a podiatrist, or an orthopedist. They will determine if an imaging exam is necessary. After examining your feet and ankles, they can decide whether you need to strengthen the muscle structure of your ankles or if you require orthotic insoles.

If you are reading this too late...

If the damage is already done and the pain is present, don't panic. We also explain how to relieve your pain while waiting to implement the advice we just provided:

  • Apply ice for 20 to 30 minutes, 3 times a day
  • Rest your ankles by reducing your sports activities, but do not completely immobilize them and try to keep moving to a minimum.

In case of intense pain, apply an anti-inflammatory cream (if there is no injury). Follow the advice you just read for your future hikes!